"Advertising is not well.
Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement
emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement
clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising
—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil
that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale
about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 3, 2014 -
The new documentary "Terms And Conditions May Apply," about the privacy overreach of major tech companies, presents its trailer on a cleverly written page of terms and conditions
posted by mark7570
on Jul 11, 2013 -
Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon."
So what can you do? Use some alternatives
. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo
, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over.
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 26, 2013 -
I turned around to face an approaching figure. It was Larry Page, naked, save for a pair of eyeglasses. “Welcome to Google Island. I hope my nudity doesn’t bother you. We’re completely committed to openness here. Search history. Health data. Your genetic blueprint. One way to express this is by removing clothes to foster experimentation. It’s something I learned at Burning Man,” he said.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on May 17, 2013 -
On the 23 of June, 2011 a secret five hour meeting took place between WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was under house arrest in rural UK at the time and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. We provide here a verbatim transcript of the majority of the meeting; a close reading, particularly of the latter half, is revealing. [more inside]
posted by palbo
on Apr 25, 2013 -
Google Glasses are being tested by tech writers as we speak. But are they a good thing?
The long awaited Project Glass
is nearly here
There are articles about them here
among many others.
But is it a good thing? Questions are being asked both about safety
and about privacy.
Everything good, bad and ugly about the online world is about to get more intense. Are you ready?
posted by BillW
on Mar 25, 2013 -
"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it.
" The Atlantic
's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview
(~25 min Flash video) [via
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Oct 4, 2010 -
A Google engineer was recently fired for spying on several teens
through their GTalk, Gmail, and Google Voice accounts. He accessed contact lists and chat transcripts, and in one case quoted from an IM that he'd looked up behind the person's back... In another incident, Barksdale unblocked himself from a Gtalk buddy list even though the teen in question had taken steps to cut communications with the Google engineer.
confirming the shenanigans.
posted by swift
on Sep 15, 2010 -
In 2006 some Italian teenagers filmed themselves assaulting a youth with Down Syndrome and uploaded the video to Google Video Italia. It was pulled from the site within hours, but that did not satisfy the Italian Down Syndrome support group named Vivi Down
, who filed a complaint that resulted in a two-year investigation. That lead to charges and indictment of four Google executives, who were never aware of the video until after it had been removed, for violating Italy’s privacy code.
Today the Italian court ruled
that three of the four - chief legal officer David Drummond, global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer and former CFO George Reyes - are guilty, and sentenced them to 6 months to a year of jail-time. The fourth, Arvind Desikan, former head of Google Video in London, was acquitted. [more inside]
posted by BeerFilter
on Feb 24, 2010 -
This morning, Google launched
a new feature called "Google Dashboard
" that lets users view (and in some cases control,) what data is being stored on a range of more than 20 Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Latitude. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 5, 2009 -
Everybody knows about the Google Van now, some love it
, some hate it
, but it has become an assumed condition now that, if you're near a street, Google Maps might have your picture (I'm at work!
). Living further off the path might seem like a solution to avoid detection, but Google has stepped off the roadway and into more scenic routes with the Google Tricycle
. Being unpowered and smaller allows Google to get their 360° photographs from vantage points other than the curb in front of your house. Google Street Views won't just include streets anymore: they plan to cover national parks, bicycle paths, college campuses
, theme parks, any any other public place which isn't exactly van-friendly.
posted by AzraelBrown
on Jul 15, 2009 -
Privacy is dead - get over it
] is a talk by private investigator Steve Rambam. It's a talk he has been giving for a number of years where he shows how privacy is being taken away, not by sinister plots but because people are giving it away. With people putting up everything and nothing on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on, as well as a growing quantity of data held in private databases, he shows how easy it is to find out enormous amounts of data on just about anyone. [more inside]
posted by bjrn
on Sep 2, 2008 -
Google has been ordered
to turn over all of its electronic records of the videos watched by users on YouTube to Viacom. The 12 terabytes of data include records of every video watched by every user, including the user's login name (if any) and IP address. Google had complained that the disclosure would invade user's privacy, but this argument was blunted somewhat by Google's earlier statement
that IP Addresses are not, in and of themselves, personally identifying information. Google was also ordered to turn over certain other information, including its video classification database schema, but was not ordered to turn over information regarding videos marked as private, its source code, or its advertising database schema.
posted by The Bellman
on Jul 3, 2008 -
Google Images Censored in China
A picture says 1000 words, and Google.cn is censoring them all. Check out the side-by-side screens of a search for "tiananmen+square" in Google.com and Google.cn images. Looks like a nice place, with little historical significance. You can try the search yourself
. The text on the bottom left is the censorship disclaimer. Very different than our results
. A far cry from Google's claim
that they do not censor results. Nice to know that they stand up to the government here but not abroad.
A good spoof
of the whole thing.
posted by FeldBum
on Jan 30, 2006 -
NSA,FISA, and Privacy It is of course the president who finally approves of actions that may or may not be deemed legal but before 9/11, this is what he had been advised to consider
"The largest U.S. spy agency warned the incoming Bush administration in its "Transition 2001" report that the Information Age required rethinking the policies and authorities that kept the National Security Agency in compliance with the Constitution's 4th Amendment prohibition on "unreasonable searches and seizures" without warrant and "probable cause," according to an updated briefing book of declassified NSA documents posted today on the World Wide Web.
If this is the sort of reading you enjoy, then by all means dig about here:
But then Windows
allowed NSA to have a sure access to your machine .
And by now we all know that Google
will fight the government on making its search data base available in order to protect your privacy.(Reality: to protect Google stuff). And if you worry about search engines tracking you and making data available, then here is a workaround
posted by Postroad
on Jan 20, 2006 -
Google blacklists CNET reporters?
An article about privacy issues that highlighted the potential for abuse
if logs of search terms linked with IP addresses are combined by search companies with address and phone data, angered Google CEO Eric Schmidt enough to blacklist CNET reporters for a year, at least according to the bottom of this CNET story
. The article begins with information about Schmidt found via Google searches, and goes on to "question Google's ability to adequately balance the heavy burden of safeguarding consumer privacy rights with the pull toward intermingling and mining data for ever more lucrative targeted advertising."
posted by mediareport
on Aug 7, 2005 -
Google is watching you....
"My Search History lets you easily view and manage your search history from any computer." Given the continuing concerns about Google's respect for privacy, is this a good thing?
posted by jefgodesky
on Apr 21, 2005 -
Do no evil...
it looks like Orkut would like to 0wn your data. And although the piece is heated, everyone did get incensed over Microsoft's near-identical passport policy. And I know you invited
types like Orkut...
posted by bonaldi
on Feb 5, 2004 -
"Perhaps the time has come to recognise this dominant search engine for what it is - a public utility that must be regulated in the public interest." Bill Thompson from the BBC tells me that Google puts a cookie on my computer that can't be deleted till 2038: "This means that Google builds up a detailed profile of your search terms over many years. Google probably knew when you last thought you were pregnant, what diseases your children have had, and who your divorce lawyer is. It refuses to say why it wants this information or to admit whether it makes it available to the US Government for tracking purposes." Are they "a secretive, hyper-competitive company with no respect for the personal privacy of its users"? Are other search engines better behaved? And is this the beginning of search ethics
posted by theplayethic
on Apr 14, 2003 -